“I am proud of you” sounds condescending. “I am proud to be a part of you” suggests that we are all in this together. This is servant leadership. This is leaders eat last. This is getting things done. In building an enterprise, a movement, a championship, the leader is rewarded for results. But, the team does the work. Many leaders willingly accept the accolades of coaching the team to success. The secure leader knows full well that plenty of credit is available for every contributor.
But, what goes on in the trenches? For a leader to be part of delivering success, what happens on a daily basis that separates the winners from the near-misses?
Leading a Team
Successful teams have a leader that creates successful strategies. Then, the planning, the preparation, the practice are all elements allowing contributors to perform their best. For example, sales teams perform best when their efforts are aligned with marketing, production, and finance. During the entire process from making the prospect aware that their desire can be met, through accepting payment for delivering, each step must be coordinated and executed well. Too often, victory is proclaimed when the customer receives the service and payment is received. In reality, each successful transaction raises the team’s competence such that it routinely executes with excellence, and additionally when the stakes are highest. When the leaders’ superior strategy aligns with the team’s technical competence, then they win!
Serving a Client
The reason that a team approach works in serving clients is because clients are rarely singular entities. Even if one person receives a singular service, like financial planning, their needs are multi-faceted. In this case the team approach contributes diverse skill sets to serve the client with regards to regulatory updates, periodic statements, and wealth generation strategies. Instead of one professional keeping up with all these attributes and other nuances, the team approach allows specialists to contribute to delivering a superior client service experience. In this case a leader has a very clear role to coordinate delivering multiple benefits. Consequently, being part of the group and emphasizing collaboration leverages the expertise and competitive advantages that separates these business champions from the also-rans.
Coaching Other Leaders
According to leadership guru, John Maxwell, “The highest function of a leader is to produce leaders who can lead others.” At the highest levels of being a part of others, the winning influence does not only come from the direct superior. It runs throughout the organization. While it is easy to credit a great culture, focusing on individual contact consistently happening up, down and sideways through the organization is more accurate. Simply put, leaders must coach other leaders to perpetuate exact strategies, techniques, and behaviors that everyone must perform. Every contributor must hear a consistent message so that execution occurs flawlessly. Whether it is boot camp, training camp, or employee orientation, elite performance starts with consistent dedication to detailed excellence. That dedication demands accountability through the ranks. Therefore leaders must receive great coaching, to ensure great accountability, leading to exceptional performance.
In short, teamwork makes the dream work! The leader sets the plan and then prepares the team to execute it. Great execution will follow a consistent pattern: try, fail, try again! Victories are the result. Over time, the right victories supersede a multitude of defeats. Championship sports teams win the last game! It no longer really matters how many they lost along the way. A leader who is proud to be a part of the team is the leader whose team delivers the most important victories!
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond